and Green: GMC Denali XT Concept Truck
Gangster Styling and 50% Improvement in Fuel Economy
Mike Levine Posted:
02-03-08 00:01 ET
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Problem with Mid-Size Pickups
take a chart junkie to notice the steady downward sloping direction
the sales arrow is pointed in for mid-size pickups. 800,000 small trucks
were sold in 2002 but only 507,000 units sold last year – a
staggering 37% drop in six years.
didn’t seem too bad,
or too big, the first few years. Small truck buyers found that they could
afford full-size trucks (incentive wars and super low financing pushed
half-ton prices down) and the manufacturers were happy because they made
more money off the bigger pickups.
where the sales were. Manufacturers continuously reinvested and improved
their full-size trucks with new features, in response to customer demand
and to remain competitive. Small trucks, which returned relatively
little profit to manufacturers – especially from the
Detroit Three – were neglected in favor of
the big trucks.
two years ago, real estate started to go south and fuel prices started
to climb. Recreational buyers began to jump from full size commuter
trucks and contractors slowed the turnover rates of their work rigs.
Last year full-size truck sales fell 8%.
who don’t need max-capability from a full size truck are
looking for fuel efficient alternatives and coming up empty-handed. They
aren’t finding it in the current crop of mid-size trucks, which
have grown nearly as big as full-size trucks were in the 1980s, yet lack
modern fuel saving features (cylinder deactivation, six-speed automatic
transmissions), creature comforts, and slick factory-installed cargo
management systems for the box, because of the drought of manufacturer
General Motors’ segment-blurring GMC Denali XT direct injection
V8 hybrid flex-fuel unibody pickup concept that will debut at the 2008
Chicago Auto Show.
Even the designers switch back and forth between calling it a car or
a truck depending on the topic at hand.
by GM’s Holden team in Australia, where most of the General’s
hot products seem to be coming from these days, GM thinks the Denali
XT could be just what buyers are looking for in a next generation mid-size
powertrain and pricing thoughts aside – because any
Denali trimmed GMC truck is courting the Starbucks set, not the Dunkin
Donuts crowd – to first consider the XT’s form factor and
In Australia this four-door car-truck would be called a Crewman Ute.
Two-door Utes date back
to the 1930s but a four-door version only appeared
in 2003, when Holden started selling the VY Crewman. An improved VZ Crewman
went on sale in 2004. Both versions were more popular with Australian
buyers than GM expected but Crewman production stopped when the new
VE two-door Ute and Commodore sedan were introduced last year.